My lacrosse season is a little different from most in this state, since I kind of hibernate on the Club tournaments. Many parents ask me about that and it’s always the same answer, there’s really no upside to my covering those events, since it’s easier to stay on the sidelines while those events go on. The results aren’t really important to me, nor to FLN, when they are mostly intrastate contests. If a Florida team or players do well in a national event, we’ll pay attention and highlight when the national media mentions us, but for the most part the easiest way to stay agnostic about the relative merits and accomplishments of the Clubs is to not get in the middle.
Since I’m not active the entire year-round, it leaves me to be able to define a little more of ‘The Season’, and these two events, albeit very different in orientation, help define my return to the upcoming season. The one thing the two events do have in common is that they are run by the same organization, the Florida Youth Lacrosse Foundation.
The Foundation has been around for many years and is instrumental in helping to grow the game where it most needs help, at the grass roots level, particularly where cost is an impediment to playing. The mission of the Foundation is laid out on their Home Page:
The primary goal of the Florida Youth Lacrosse Foundation, Inc. is to provide support for Youth Lacrosse throughout the State of Florida. Our Foundation wants to encourage the explosive growth of the sport by providing guidance and resources to new or struggling programs. If you are the coach and/or organizer of a girl’s or boy’s lacrosse team of elementary, middle or high school age and would like to request funding from the Foundation please complete and submit the attached application for consideration to:
Florida Youth Lacrosse Foundation
Attn: Financial Aid Committee
Applicant programs must be located in the State of Florida and be able to demonstrate a true financial need. It is not intended to support “for profit” organizations or events. A team with financial need is defined as a program for which current participant and outside financial contributions cannot fully cover associated costs.
The open application for funding requests period begins April 1st and ends September 15th. Funding determinations will be made by September 30th. Equipment will be ordered by October 15th. Special needs applications will be addressed as appropriate. If you have any questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve known many of the Board Members for years, and their dedication to their cause runs deep. Long time involvement, playing, coaching, refereeing, administering . . . you name it, they’ve done it. The sport might well have gotten off the ground without it, but the speed of growth would not have been nearly as fast, nor as wide.
These two events are my reawakening. They get my juices flowing for another season of what is rapidly becoming its own hotbed for this sport. Florida continues to surge as a place where Boys and Girls take to the sport, grow their skills, and for many, take a path on a life that does not end with their last game played. This is that type of sport; take the next generation under our wing and keep the cycle of growth and interest going.
Two Saturdays ago, the 17th annual Goalie Clinic/School was held at Patch Reef Park in Boca. The day is a collaboration and featured Don Goldstein, a long-time Board member and high-level college goalie at UMass, and Sean Quirk, the former head coach of the Cannons in PLL and MLL, along with being the head coach at Endicott College. Sean’s playing career saw him be a two-time All American, National Goalie of the Year, and an NCAA D2 title winner in 1994 at Springfield College.
That’s credibility kids.
The event was for both Boys and Girls, and there were over 100 goalies attending, and no one left the worse for it.
Assisted by many college level goalies, including South Floridian high schoolers, the kids were put through a series of drills throughout a picture-perfect day of sunshine.
As big of a deal that event was, I have to confess that this past weekend’s event is pretty much only second to the FHSAA Final Four to me.
I did not play the sport, so I have to play it vicariously through others, and that comes through the most for me when I get to see the Florida Lax Classic. Why? The simple reason is that in my Hobart ’80 class of about 225 male graduates, there are still a handful of my classmates that play in this event. Given I’m now 64, the Eldest Statesmen (65 and over) represent my class, followed by the younger Elder Statesmen (60 and Over).
Over the years, the numbers have thinned down a little, but they still show, and just like the 1980 NCAA D3 title team, they still WIN.
And once again, the Eldest Statesmen take home the trophy, with the 7-6 defeat of Cloudsplitters in the finals!
The event is held at both Tequesta Trace Park and Weston Regional, in the city of Weston, over three days. The weather, unlike the previous week, was challenging to say the least. Heavy rain on Friday, turning to South Florida’s version of ‘the frozen tundra’ on Saturday and Sunday. For only the second time in the past 12 months, my turtleneck, long pants, socks and jacket graced my wardrobe. And I needed all of it.
My Saturday was spent almost entirely there, from about 8:45am to 4:00pm, and there really wasn’t a down minute. Catching up with old friends and even meeting a few new faces. The camaraderie of the sport never changes. The stories flow, both accurate and sometimes embellished. Like they should be. The 65-year old’s soft shot low five years from now will be the split dodge at midfield, a behind the back give and go and a rifled off-hand top corner stick.
Just ask them.
There was Cornell legend Chris Kane, coaching a bunch of Hobart grads but refusing to join in with the Let’s go ‘Bart chant . . .
The goalie tandem of Benjamin head coach Peter Cordrey and UMass’ Don Goldstein sharing a net for Garber’s Gorillas, while Bill Beroza was playing long stick. That might arguably be the deepest goalie depth chart on one team in history. Hearing Peter bark out instructions to his defenders. And his introducing me to Kevin Gray, Princeton ’77, a predecessor of his in goal at that school. Don showing the kids his goalie school wasn’t all talk. Bill still diving around like the 1977 Roanoke-Hobart semifinal; a game I attended.
Just keeps going. One of the great times at this event is being able to sit in on the referee’s rest area and listening to all the stories.
The 70’s and over Game! First time this year. Pat Dunne with his vintage goalie stick, still playing. And all the rest. How can you not get sentimental about this? Funny how the most popular hair style was long in back and short on top, with a number of handlebar mustaches.
And yesterday, Cookie Krongard was present to attend. 82 years young . . . Cookie Krongard Still Playing Lacrosse at Age 80 | USA Lacrosse Magazine (usalaxmagazine.com)
Mission BBQ provided a free buffet to the participants; the Brisket with horseradish sauce . . . mmmm. LOVED the Mac and Cheese.
The first time in three years the event was held, and the wait was worth it.
As will be the wait until next year.
Thanks Brian, Don, Rich, Pete, Gary and all the rest who tireless work to give the kids so much of their time and effort. The sport is so much the better for it!